The Crystal Magician
by Silvia Hartmann
Not at all far away from here, there lived a very bad
He did not have any friends, for he wasn’t very friendly; and he
was always in trouble for the things he said, he did, and others said he did,
whether he had done these things or not.
Nobody liked him and everyone
found constant fault with him; the people in whose house he lived thought him a
burden and told him so in no uncertain terms.
One night, after having
done something bad again and having been punished again, the boy had enough and
although it was dark and raining, he ran away from home.
He didn’t know
where he was going and he kept on running and running, through the town, past
the farms and further and further still until he could not run any longer and
when he finally stopped, he found himself in a dark and dire wilderness.
The boy was very tired and very scared; it was very dark, and cold too,
and there were winds and noises all around, no roads, no paths and no lights,
just gnarled old trees with tentacles for branches, and hard thorny shrubs that
pricked and pulled at his clothes and at his skin.
So the boy could not
go on any longer, and shivering he just sat down in the darkness, and wrapped
his arms about his legs, just to wait for the dawn so he could see again. That
was a hard night, full of fear and many times the boy thought how he had been
wrong again, done a bad thing again, and how he would really come to no good in
the end, as everyone had always told him he would.
After a long, long
time, the sky began to brighten and finally, the day had come. The boy stood up
and looked around the wilderness, and it was then that he saw something in the
distance, and it looked like a house of some kind. He was so tired and hungry by
then that he just headed towards it without giving much thought as to what he
might say or do when he got there, and for the whole day he kept on walking
through the wilderness without water, food or rest towards the building.
The building was what seemed to be a high tower that showed all straight
and square above the waving trees.
As the boy got closer, he saw that it
was a large house with a tower built onto it; there were no roads that led to
it, yet the tower and the house lay in a pleasant meadow that was not like the
surrounding wilderness at all, and it seemed clean and bright, as though someone
actually lived there.
The boy snuck closer, very carefully, for he had
heard tales of witches and magicians which were said to live in places such as
this, but he could see no-one, hear no-one, and when he looked through the
windows with the greatest caution and care, he saw a great many good and
expensive furnishing and objects, but not a soul was in sight.
around the back of the building and when he looked through a window there, he
saw into a kitchen, and there was a bowl of fruit on the table, and right next
to it lay a loaf of bread on a chopping board!
This was too much for the
boy. He tried the back door, found it to be unlocked and ran inside, grabbed
some fruit and bread and then scurried under the table to eat it there in big
hungry bites and greedy swallows.
He was about to come out to get
another piece of fruit and perhaps a drink to wash down this amazing meal when
he heard footsteps, and quickly hid himself back under the table, making himself
as small as a mouse and as still, with his heart pounding for fear that he would
Feet came into view, wearing soft brown boots and a
sweeping cloak’s hem could be observed from under the table, and a man’s
gravelly voice who was talking to himself, “Quick now, quick,” he was saying as
he walked around the table in the kitchen, “must be away, must be away, to make
the most of the light of day!”
Then the unknown man had collected what
he needed and he left the kitchen by the back door without locking it properly
behind him, and then he was gone.
For a good long time, the boy remained
under the table, far too afraid that the man would come back, but no-one else
appeared and the man never came, and so finally the boy came out from under the
table, looked around and listened to the stillness of the house.
many people had said about the boy that he was way too nosey for his own good,
that he just couldn’t sit still, always asking questions, always playing with
forbidden things, and he stood and knew that it would have been safer to just
leave, take some fruit and be on his way, but he could not. He just had to take
a look into the other rooms, find out more about this strange dwelling, even
though he told himself that someone more sensible would have taken their chance
now and just run.
So the boy started to look around the house.
There were many strange and amazing things to be seen, carvings of
animals he did not recognise, sculptures of strange looking faces and people,
objects that made no sense at all and he had never even seen in all his life,
nor even heard about.
There were so many things, indeed there were far
too many to pick them all up and wonder what they might be, what they might do,
and so the boy just wandered from room to room and here and there until he came
to the big spiral staircase that was going to lead up into the tower he had seen
over the rooftops when he was still lost in the wilderness.
walked up the first flight where there was a landing and a door.
opened the door carefully and looked inside – but he could see only empty white
shelves and white walls and windows. There was nothing there.
closed the door again and went up another flight of stairs until he came to
another door. This door was strange and made of thick metal with many rivets; it
was held closed from the outside with many fastenings and a big crossbeam.
The boy looked at the door and thought to himself that another boy, more
sensible, more intelligent, better behaved than himself would know better than
to open such a door and look inside, but as he was not such a boy, he went to
the door and set to unfastening all the snapping locks and then he lifted the
heavy crossbar aside.
Carefully, he opened the door and looked inside.
It seemed dark inside the room but something glistened and attracted his
attention, and so he walked right into the room.
Behind him, the door
And in the darkness he saw that the room was filled with
shapes, sparkling shapes, frightening shapes but these were not creatures, nor
were they demons; these were crystals, huge, big misshapen ugly crystals and they
were humming, droning, and as the boy stood and could not move from the spot,
they were telling him things, and these were things he had heard before so many
times, about badness, and evil, and pain, and suffering and how all things were
vile and horrid, and most of all the boy himself.
The droning of the
hideous misshapen crystals got louder and louder, filling the boy’s ears and
ringing in his head, and what had happened the night he had left the house where
once he lived occurred again – he somehow jarred back into awareness and he
turned and ran to the wall where he thought the door might be, but there were
more monster crystals, they were everywhere, their twisted moans and screams
clawing at his very soul, but he did not stop and he found the door, opened it
and escaped out into the stillness of the stairwell.
For a long time he
cowered against the wall, his head hurting, his heart pounding and tears
stinging in his eyes, but then he got up and carefully replaced the big cross
beam and fixed all the locks to keep all that horror inside.
the stair well. Another boy would have long gone home, but this one did not. He
took a deep breath and said out aloud, “How much worse can it get? I will not
leave here before I’ve seen it all.”
So he ascended one more flight of
stairs until he came to the next landing. This door was made of glass and it had
no lock at all, and when he touched it with an outstretched fingertip, it
immediately flew wide open and revealed a most amazing sight.
too held crystals, giant crystals but they were incredibly beautiful.
Multi-coloured reflections dancing like stars amongst their straight and perfect
shapes, fantastic and of such beauty, it took the boy’s breath away and he could
not help himself, but he had to step into the room, take a closer look, for how
could such a thing be real and here?
As soon as he had entered the room, the
glass door swung shut behind him and he could hear something – these crystals
were singing, softly and harmonic, but yet insistently and their song too was
building up and getting louder.
They sung of such things as the boy had
never heard – they sung of beauty and of harmony, of colours and of joy, of
lightness and of soaring and for the first time in his entire life, the boy did
want to listen for these were stories never told, words never spoken, yet these
were the things he had always longed to hear, these were the songs he had cried
himself to sleep each night for because they were not there and yet a part of
him remembered that they should have been.
And as the crystals sang of
joy and grace, of splendour and of majesty, of sweeping glory and the pure
perfection of all things, the boy found that his own voice joined them in the
singing, raw and sore it was at first, but then with gathering clarity as all
the years and all the days became undone and made to be a nothing, the boy sang
with the crystals and he knew that he had found a gift that was not just for him
How long he stayed there, I don’t know, but there came a time
when he stopped singing with his voice and instead, his heart was singing.
When that happened, he stood up and thanked the crystals; and without a
moment’s hesitation, he went back down the stairs and unbolted the door behind
which the monster crystals groaned and moaned.
Into the dark he stepped
and into the storm of suffering he began to sing the song that he had learned,
and as he sang, a wondrous transformation began to occur to the misshapen
crystals – they tried and stretched to catch his harmonies in their distorted
voices, yet even so, with each one who even tried, the storms of sounds began to
drift away as though a wind was changing in direction and with gathering
strength and power, all the crystals began to sing the song the boy had brought
with him until the song was a movement, then a dance, then a force that melted
their forms and gave them a different structure, different existence, which in
turn sang clearer and yet clearer still.
One by one, one small shard at
a time, the crystals came to life afresh and they began to glow and shine, bring
colours and aligning to the perfection and the harmony they found within the
song, they turned as beautiful if not more beautiful still than those above them
and a unity was born as all the tower rang in song, rang out like God’s own
bells across the world.
Far away, the magician who owned the tower of
the crystals, heard the song and knew it was coming from his home, but he did
not know what had happened, and so he hastened back, flying like magicians do
across the lands and seas, and he could not believe just what had happened, for
he had grown the crystals for a very long time indeed, one set kept in the grim
and dark, the other in the bright and love, so that he might compare them and
learn something new about the nature of the universe, and how to do much
But such magic as that song!
wilderness had started to transform, already new life began to raise its glory
and the oldest, gnarliest trees of all began to sprout new green leaves, and
buds that would become their flowers, too.
Entirely astonished, the
magician entered his tower, and there he found the boy, and there he learned
that only beauty raises beauty, that only truth can call to more, and that the
magic he had sought so long was found just nowhere else but there.
grateful was he to the boy, and so delighted to have found out about his
mistakes he was that he at once made a vow to dedicate his remaining years just
to the study of beauty and truth, and he took the boy for his son and
apprentice, to carry on his work for all the years to follow.
they brought the blessings of beauty and of truth to many; and roads were built,
and people came from far and wide to find their healing here and their own
voice, and bring the gift of the Crystal Magician to their lands, their loved
ones and their homes.
© Silvia Hartmann 2004